Parenting Expectations and Concerns of Fathers and Mothers of Newborn Infants

By Fox, Greer Litton; Bruce, Carol et al. | Family Relations, April 2000 | Go to article overview

Parenting Expectations and Concerns of Fathers and Mothers of Newborn Infants


Fox, Greer Litton, Bruce, Carol, Combs-Orme, Terri, Family Relations


Parenting Expectations and Concerns of Fathers and

Mothers of Newborn Infants`

Mothers and their partners were interviewed in the Labor and Delivery units of two hospitals in Tennessee. An association was found between level of mother's concern about caring for her child and a mismatch between partners' expectations for father's helpful involvement in certain aspects of parenting. The perinatal period white parents are in health care settings provides opportune time for family life education approaches that explore couples' expectations for paternal involvement and their parenting concerns.

Key Words: child maltreatment risk, parental concerns, parental expectstions

As reflected in the small but rapidly growing professional literature on fathers' roles in early infant development, recognition of the potential importance of fathers in caring for newborns is itself in its infancy. The nature of father involvement and its impact on child outcomes have dominated the attention of researchers (Lamb. 1997a). There is less evidence of focus on the motivations, values, and beliefs that lead men to construct their father role in various ways. Role theory would suggest that the expectations of significant others are of great importance in shaping the enactment of one's role (LaRossa & Reitzes, 1993a).

Changing cultural definitions of the role of father, including changing expectations of the nature and extent of his involvement and intended impact on his offspring, have. been traced over more than two centuries of American history by several researchers (Coltrane, 1995; Griswold, 1993; LaRossa, 1988: LaRossa, Gordon, Wilson, Bairan, & Jaret, 1991: LaRossa & Reitzes, i993b; Pleck & Pleck, 1997). Currently, the good father is defined as a co-parent who is expected to share the roles of provider, protector, and caregiver with the mother (Furstenberg, 1988; Marsiglio, 1995; Pleck & Pleck, 1997). Some contest whether this set of cultural expectations is shared equally across race and social class lines and whether these expectations are reflected in men's behavior (Furstenberg; 1995, Griswold, 1993). Recent survey evidence points to a gap between such participatory expectations and men's behavior in the home; even so, it is in the care of children that the highest rates of men's domestic participation are seen (Acock & Demo, 1994; Goldscheider & Waite, 1991 ).

The popular literature and media reflect the current definition of the good father as co-parent, with special media features routinely focused on the new ``nurturant father." It is not unreasonable to expect that at least some of the attention in the popular media to new styles of fathering may be reflected in a changed set of normative expectations for whether and how fathers are to be involved with their infant children, However, little is known about the schedule of expectations parents may actually have of the father's participation in caring for a new baby or for his provision of financial, material, and emotional support to the mother. This paper provides an overview of such expectations on the part of fathers of newborns, with paired comparisons to those of mothers. That is, we ask what fathers of newborns expect of themselves and what their baby's mother expects of them as well.

A second issue explored in this paper is the expression of concerns and worries that mothers and fathers have about taking care of their infant, including concerns about potential maltreatment. Some who have studied parents of newborns have discovered them anxious to discuss their fears and concerns (Cowan & Cowan, 1990). However, little empirical research has specifically addressed fathers' concerns about aspects of caring far their children. In particular, there is no research that addresses fathers' and mothers' concerns about the potential for abusing or neglecting their children (Egeland, 1991), and there are no reports of child abuse prevention programs directly asking either mothers or fathers about these concerns. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Parenting Expectations and Concerns of Fathers and Mothers of Newborn Infants
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.